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Shure SE846: A New In-Ear Flagship From Shure. Finally! (Impressions p26-28) - Page 28

post #406 of 3040

very true

post #407 of 3040

I think the analogy was similar to "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?".

 

Here's Shure's spec on the woofer portion. Looks like it's 6db per octave starting around 75hz and a 90hz crossover point (3db down).

 

Groundbreaking low-pass filter enables ~3dB low-end roll-off at 90Hz (~10dB at 250Hz)

post #408 of 3040

Back to impressions. My last one was that the sound was one one track with vocals and instruments all-together somewhat of a blob with a lack of space between instruments, I don't remember anything particularly good about the soundstage in any direction otherwise. I more remember that they aren't as dark and "rolled-off"-sounding at the 535s are.  Maybe a good description of the sound would be to say they sound like the universal demos of a custom IEM, that is: almost right, but not quite 100%.

 

Maybe because I spend time speaking to engineers who have to spend countless hours designing and testing these things (which costs money) I think it's unfair to harp on about the price, because if they can't get a return on their effort a company will be less likely to approve radical R&D projects in the future, but also because a large company with a distributor network has to cover the costs of their distributors and resellers. The SE846s definitely have some radical engineering in them and quite a bit more complexity than your average IEM.

 

I want to comment briefly on expensive universals versus customs: I understand the thoughts on that, but I think is too general to make a statement about the price against ALL custom IEMs, as they are many and varied. Custom IEMs, as I understand it, came about as a service for professional musicians. Because they started as a special option for professionals, they were the best designs available and starting with the UE10 (or 11?) pro, the most expensive and complex*. I think we have this image in our mind that a custom fit is necessary for the best sound. Maybe it is? I think though that for ordinary people, which is most people here, for those of us in the market, high-end universal IEMs are a more realistic option. Few existed though before the TG334, K3003 and now SE846.  I think the idea of top-end customs caught on because there weren't any top-end IEMs and that, in turn, has spurned a market for top-end universal IEMs. It seems to be rather like the arguments about balanced vs. ordinary amps: The only reason we argue about it is because the difference for the end user is very physically significant in that the headphones have to bee re-terminated. With custom IEMs, they have to been moulded just for us, which is very significantly different as well. If those big differences weren't there, the arguments about which is better wouldn't be there either.

 

So, overall, I think what people are trying to say is that with a custom IEM, one expects to get significantly better sound than with a universal IEM. It's considered a given. So the idea that a universal can achieve that is either a: something that renders a custom redundant, or b: impossible, when neither is actually the case, but more so that companies haven't tried making a top-end universal IEM until fairly recently.

 

*Though probably not many people realise that Etymotic IEMs, such as the ER4 have been available with a custom mould for years.

post #409 of 3040
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodvibes View Post

I'm convinced! LOL Yours has been an ongoing theme.

 

If I've spent $1.550 on the K3003, $2,200 on two pairs of FI-BA-SS, $1,350 on theTG334, $1,000 on the PF IXs & $1,000 on the IE800s, is it simply because of my "good anti customs fight", my "anti custom bias", my "universal truth", I "have an axe to grind", "my anti customs crusade" or my "ongoing theme"? Perhaps you should look at the contents of your own posts and have a look at the content of my last 2000 posts and see just how much of a "ongoing theme" customs are for me.

I've said before that customs may be right, and the perfect choice for some, but not for many, and that many people remain ignorant of several not so positive aspects about customs, or the true sonic performance of many these products. The truth of the matter is that hype, exaggeration & misinformation regarding customs still prevails. The huge amount of uninformed and silly posts seen for months before the K3003s were released, and several months after they were, was an example of such attitude. Fortunately, when the TG334s were released, a lot of the often uninformed, silly & nonsensical posts seen previously on the K3003 thread were not seen on the 334 thread after quite a few people had already commented that the K3003s went head-to-head with several TOTL customs and that there were advantages to having such great sound in a universal IEM. These days you hardly ever see such nonsense on the more recent 1p2 and IE800 threads.

This is the last I'm saying on the subject, but I could say quite a bit more which is not related to SQ, re-sale value, refits and often extra expenses involving customs.


Edited by music_4321 - 5/11/13 at 4:38am
post #410 of 3040
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post

I hon
i honestly don't think Shure could sell it for 500$ - that is unless they intended to take a serious loss in order to strong arm the market into their camp.

This earphone has so many extremely fiddly, intricate parts that had to be mad expensive to implement.

The air of this thread is a bit confusing: had the SE846 been a custom-cum universal like the 334, its 1.000$ would make more sense?

I think you have to put this thing in your hand and in your ears. Then you'll see. It isn't another universal. It isn't a custom-cum universal. It's something else. Maybe the market isn't ready for it yet.

But I don't think that will last long. Portable hi-end audio has grown beyond the simple landscape of customs and high end portable amps.

Partially it is because our portables are getting better. We no longer necessarily need amps to get on with the sensitive earphones. All-in one units obviate the need for complicated set ups.

And earphones: the non-custom is rolling in. The SE846 really is a game changer. The market won't be the same after this.

All good points but the 9 ohm impedance is not friendly, even with HiEnd portables. It will be interesting to see the impedance curve. Perhaps it's more benign in use. As a comparison, the reactance and impedance of my jh13s are quite friendly with even moderate players. Customs were never going to replace universals and universals will never replace customs. It's just nice to have options. I think the custom comparison as a generality is a poor one to dwell on. I'd be just as interested in how it compared to a 1+2. Individual comparisons to specific models of universals and customs will be inevitable and welcome.

post #411 of 3040
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post



This is the last I'm saying on the subject, but I could say quite a bit more which is not related to SQ, re-sale value, refits and often extra expenses involving customs.

You just did in typical I'm not saying, I'm just saying fashion.

 

I also really like the 1+2 and feel it's better than most customs. More expensive as well. We're not necessarily in disagreement about individual products, just the need for a universal truth that doesn't exist. There are sacrifices and hopefully some rewards to customs. The trade offs are up to the individual. I try very hard to warn those considering customs to try to get a listen and to be prepared for a wait, refit etc. There's good and bad to everything. Customs included.


Edited by goodvibes - 5/11/13 at 4:49am
post #412 of 3040
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

Back to impressions. My last one was that the sound was one one track with vocals and instruments all-together somewhat of a blob with a lack of space between instruments, I don't remember anything particularly good about the soundstage in any direction otherwise. I more remember that they aren't as dark and "rolled-off"-sounding at the 535s are.  Maybe a good description of the sound would be to say they sound like the universal demos of a custom IEM, that is: almost right, but not quite 100%.

 

Maybe because I spend time speaking to engineers who have to spend countless hours designing and testing these things (which costs money) I think it's unfair to harp on about the price, because if they can't get a return on their effort a company will be less likely to approve radical R&D projects in the future. The SE846s definitely have some radical engineering in them.


So basically it sounds small and congested ?

post #413 of 3040
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

Back to impressions. My last one was that the sound was one one track with vocals and instruments all-together somewhat of a blob with a lack of space between instruments, I don't remember anything particularly good about the soundstage in any direction otherwise. I more remember that they aren't as dark and "rolled-off"-sounding at the 535s are.  Maybe a good description of the sound would be to say they sound like the universal demos of a custom IEM, that is: almost right, but not quite 100%.

 

Maybe because I spend time speaking to engineers who have to spend countless hours designing and testing these things (which costs money) I think it's unfair to harp on about the price, because if they can't get a return on their effort a company will be less likely to approve radical R&D projects in the future. The SE846s definitely have some radical engineering in them.

I probably concur re: instrument separation, but... I only listened with the Olives. I've found that no matter how much I love the olives, I've not gotten them to ever sound open/clear versus some other favourite tips. 

post #414 of 3040

He may have preferred a different tip, not fully run in, source? Too early to draw conclusions but it's nice to hear 'impressions'.

 

*Beat me to it though I liked the olives on my 530s. Nice balance and isolation. I get space and with my current phones but not that important to me as long as it has good localization and focus. Olives dry things out a bit but I didn't find that they hindered delineation.


Edited by goodvibes - 5/11/13 at 5:49am
post #415 of 3040

Thanks for the impressions Currawong, customs did come about for musicians needs, ACS customs do a design with which allows variable stage bleed for live performers.

post #416 of 3040

I had a chance to give these a spin for maybe 45 minutes today (I feel so spoiled) and tried them out of the iphone 5 mostly and Currawong's pico power amp a bit. The filter was the balanced / neutral type and the tips where foam. That was my first listen of the day with "fresh" ears, although I had 3 hours of sleep about last night so impressions might not be very reliable. Furthermore, I am no expert in iems, so I can't relate much to other gear except what I sampled later today (JH13 Pros, ES5 among others) but these were all like 10-20 minute impressions so nothing solid, I don't trust my conclusions ;).

 

I listened to a bunch of recordings just happening to be in my "audio playlist" at the moment (sorry for the nasty copy/paste from itunes...), they're not all particularly good recordings:

 

The Greatest Cat Power The Greatest
Daredevil Fiona Apple The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do
Fujin Erik Truffaz 4tet In Between
In Between Erik Truffaz 4tet In Between
Everyday Two The Two
I'm 22 Two The Two
My Favourite Plum Suzanne Vega Close-Up, Vol. 3 - States Of Being
Chacarera Esperanza Spalding Chamber Music Society
The Wonder Rabbis Yom & The Wonder Rabbis With Love
Valentine Fiona Apple The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do
Unworry Ani DiFranco Which Side Are you On?
Splinter Ani DiFranco Which Side Are you On?
Les Vidanges Du Diable Francis Cabrel Samedi Soir Sur La Terre
Animal Francis Cabrel Sarbacane
Ma douce Barcella Charabia
Disappear R.E.M. Reveal
 

As for the listening impressions (driven from the iPhone 5 unless mentioned), I will keep it brief because I really did not get enough time to do better than this:

  • What striked me the most was the excellent upper bass/mids/highs integration. Couldn't hear anything disjointed, it's as if this was one same driver doing the whole range.
  • Another thing I liked a lot was the total lack of shrillness and compression. I suspect these have rather low distortion until quite loud levels (and that was a particular improvement vs. the SE535 I listened to just afterward).
  • I'd need more treble or less bass for my liking. Basically, I loved how effortless and well integrated they sounded but the bass quantity is just too much for my taste. It's not a bass that steps over the mid/upper bass region but it feels boosted more than necessary (from the iphone, using these tips and neutral filter).
  • However, once I used Currawong's pico power (and bypassing the iphone dac by going through an HPP1), the tonal balance was much better, just fine for me I suspect (would need much more time to tell for sure). I guess this made me feel it's a bit of a waste to spend 1k on such earphone to drive it straight from an iPhone. On the other hand, I can't stand carrying more than an iphone...
  • As for the bass quality, I felt it went low with a LOT of impact (kick drums were particularly spooky). I felt it could be a bit more taught however when driven from the iphone (no sure with the pico power). As I said above, the issue for me was mostly the quantity (I heard 2 different samples, both prototypes, and I felt the second one was a bit more balanced, so maybe this may change by the time they hit production?).
  • What makes me feel the bass may be too much is that the perceived treble energy was a bit low (that's coming from the 009 rig though), yet the sound was absolutely not lacking in "micro-details". It gave a lot of depth to the music playing because I could year the room cues.

 

About the comfort, I was concerned about the nozzle size (I have rather narrow ear canal) but it was just fine (standard tips fit). Like shigzeo mentioned, something needs to be done with the cable, it doesn't stay in place (I have no issue with my SE315s), hopefully that gets worked out by the time of release. The size is very compact, I have small ears but it settled there just fine. Also doesn't feel heavy at all (the line transmission thing must be some rather thin steel anyway).

 

In conclusion, if it wasn't for the bit "boosted" bass (from the iphone 5, I can't repeat this enough but I am guessing the poor amp has some issue dealing with this rather low impedance earphone), I'd probably be saving up for one. As it stands, I would need to also buy an amp to go with it and well, I am not quite ready to build a proper "transportable" rig so I will keep looking a bit around for a while (I will post impressions of other iems samples in Tokyo meet thread later on where I will compare the 846 to these well known ciems). 

post #417 of 3040

Thanks, keep em coming, with the dac amps used, I find these greatly effect soundstage with my customs.

post #418 of 3040
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post

eke,

This is how I see it: The problem is not so much whether Shure chooses to charge $1,000 or $2,000 for this product but, like with many other very expensive products, it's the fact that people will want it, so in the case of the SE846 we have all the buzz now… and when the hype is in full swing… Already this thread (started only 2 days ago) has 20,000 views (!).

You speak of a trend where manufacturers are now charging astronomical sums for these products — true, but, but, BUT, by the same token, there are now plenty of $50-$200 IEMs that are delivering fantastic sonics — hey, the new £25 EarPods (by that most awful company known as Apple) sound great to these ears, have excellent build quality, a very flexible, durable & absolutely non-microphonic cable, and are more comfortable than most IEMs I own, and certainly healthier for the ears than most non-vented (mostly BA-based) IEMs because the ears can breathe (!); yes, they don't isolate, but that's the nature of canal phones. But hey, it's Apple and only £25 (or less) — ie if you're a 'true' head-fier / audiophile, you've got to hate Apple, bash Apple's earbuds, Beats, Bose, etc.

Now, at least the customs madness / craze has gone down quite a bit after quite a few horror stories and the fact that more and more people also started reporting that the sonic merits of customs weren't quite what they thought they were — but you still get plenty of exaggeration, hype, expectation bias, etc., and sometimes said exaggeration is simply the result of a different sound signature, much like many sound sigs found on cheap / expensive universals. Customs may still be the best option for some, but they clearly aren't for many — many people still ignore quite a few downsides about customs.

Now, look at all the attention the $500 made-in-Japan EX1000 got (originally priced at $800 in Japan), while its $150 made-in-Thailand EX600 sibling didn't get even half of it, and naturally so when people often described the sonic differences between both models as being massive, when in actual fact the differences were VERY small and even the Japanese-made EX1000's housings had build issues not found on the Thailand-made EX600 (!). I've mentioned before how great-sounding the FI-BA-SB is, yet all the attention seems to always go to the much more expensive FI-BA-SS.

 

Now, look at all those veeeery expensive aftermarket cables, some costing $500+ / $1,000+; I still remember many describing the EX1000 cable as vastly superior sonically to the EX600 cable when, in fact, there were no real audible sonic differences between both cables.

Only today someone had this to say about the $1,300 ($1,500 in Europe) AKG K3003 they auditioned: "In a direct comparison I actually preferred the JVC FXD70 over the K3003. This is an in-ear you can get for 50 USD from Japan. The cable on the FXD70 felt better and the build quality about the same." That's not to say the poster is right or wrong, but simply that to him the K3003s weren't even as good as his $50 JVCs.

No matter how many times one states that there is something very, very real known as "the law of diminishing returns", the fact remains that many people will still prefer to ignore said fact / law, go with the hype, the marketing and all the (often obscure) audio jargon that goes with it that so impresses many (and not just noobs). Then there's also something known as snake oil... or things like "If you have X phone, you've got to listen to lossless files", when what matters most is the actual recording / mastering quality of the music more than the bitrate.

 

And there's more......

Very well said, as always! The world is certainly not a beautiful place when it comes to peoples' and companies' greed for money. We should be very wary before we spend this kind money on an IEM. If at all possible I always try a product before I buy it, and in this case I know my local dealer will have it in store for testing. I simple won't take anyones word for it once the hype is in full swing. As I believe you stated in an earlier post, there are headphones that sound extremely well, absolutely TOTL for a fraction of the money, like the Sennheiser HD 600 and HD 650. I'd be very surprised if this new Shure SE846 sounds any better than those.

post #419 of 3040
Quote:
Originally Posted by shotgunshane View Post

Mass produced items of any kind require markedly greater start up costs than fulfill and go, low volume products. These start up costs require large sums cash or debt to initiate. The profit isn't realized until months or years down the road. A minimum quantity must be built and sold before the first dollar is made. Budgets created, contracts signed, parts ordered, warehouse space leased, equipment purchased and installed, vendors trained, marketing materials bought and distributed, shippers contracted and employees salaries and health care and taxes paid. There is no magic mass produced light switch that is flipped for instant profit and lucrative revenues. It's a calculated gamble, a risk taken in a volatile and flooded market. Then there are those head-fi guys on the Internet to deal with. They can be a surly crowd. Time to hire a social networking PR staff. Are we raking in the dollars hand over fist yet?

Great post! What a reality check! I've saved it to file, backed it up and will probably (if in good health) quote it many times before I die! Thanks! bigsmile_face.gif

post #420 of 3040

I find my 535's are similar to my hd650's for sound signature not as full as the hd650s have big drivers.

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